Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Union Drive Doesn’t Bother Management, but G.O.P. Fumes

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Union Drive Doesn’t Bother Management, but G.O.P. Fumes

    Union Drive Doesn’t Bother Management, but G.O.P. Fumes

    As workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., prepare to vote this week on whether to join the United Automobile Workers, they are facing unusual pressure from the state’s Republican legislators to reject the union.

    State Senator Bo Watson, who represents a suburb of Chattanooga, warned on Monday that if VW’s workers voted to embrace the U.A.W., the Republican-controlled Legislature might vote against approving future incentives to help the plant expand.

    “The members of the Tennessee Senate will not view unionization as in the best interest of Tennessee,” Mr. Watson said at a news conference. He added that a pro-U.A.W. vote would make it “exponentially more challenging” for the legislature to approve future subsidies.

    A loss of such incentives, industry analysts say, could persuade Volkswagen to award production of a new S.U.V. to its plant in Mexico instead of to the Chattanooga plant, which currently assembles the Passat.

    At a news conference on Tuesday, United States Senator Bob Corker, a former mayor of Chattanooga and a Republican, also called on VW employees to reject the union. He called it “a Detroit-based organization” whose key to survival was to organize plants in the South.
    Colonel Vogel : What does the diary tell you that it doesn't tell us?

    Professor Henry Jones : It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!

  • #2
    Maybe you know what is going on here Adam but this strikes me a seriously weird on more than one front. I understand the antipathy toward unions in the G.O.P., not to mention their complete lack of shit to give for working people, but are they really threatening to fuck with VW over this? And since when has the G.O.P. started trying to meddle with individual economic choices made by corporations and workers?

    There has to be more to this than meets the eye. On the surface, it just looks like nose cutting spite on the part of the G.O.P.
    Colonel Vogel : What does the diary tell you that it doesn't tell us?

    Professor Henry Jones : It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Billy Jingo View Post
      Maybe you know what is going on here Adam but this strikes me a seriously weird on more than one front. I understand the antipathy toward unions in the G.O.P., not to mention their complete lack of shit to give for working people, but are they really threatening to fuck with VW over this? And since when has the G.O.P. started trying to meddle with individual economic choices made by corporations and workers?

      There has to be more to this than meets the eye. On the surface, it just looks like nose cutting spite on the part of the G.O.P.
      There definitely is a lot more than meets the eye. First, you need to take off the hate-colored glasses and get it through your skull that your idiotic meme of "[conservative's] complete lack of shit to give for working people" is just outright false. Can you manage to take of the partisan blinders long enough to do that?

      If so, then I will explain what the New York Times is intentionally leaving out of this story as well as what they just plain fail to understand.



      So, can you manage to do that? Can you manage to take off the blinders long enough to discuss this like an adult?
      It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
      In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
      Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
      Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Adam View Post
        There definitely is a lot more than meets the eye. First, you need to take off the hate-colored glasses and get it through your skull that your idiotic meme of "[conservative's] complete lack of shit to give for working people" is just outright false. Can you manage to take of the partisan blinders long enough to do that?

        If so, then I will explain what the New York Times is intentionally leaving out of this story as well as what they just plain fail to understand.



        So, can you manage to do that? Can you manage to take off the blinders long enough to discuss this like an adult?
        *shrug*

        Sure. Take your "librul media" rage blinders off and its a deal.
        Colonel Vogel : What does the diary tell you that it doesn't tell us?

        Professor Henry Jones : It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah, can you remove your partisan characterizations long enough to hear about how the black-shirted union thugs are intimidating Joe six-pack by stalking around (in, err... boots) and thrusting sharp-edged paper flyers at his face?
          Enjoy.

          Comment


          • #6
            When you got Michigan, fucking Michigan, scoreboarding you, you might want to rethink your actions.
            Colonel Vogel : What does the diary tell you that it doesn't tell us?

            Professor Henry Jones : It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!

            Comment


            • #7
              Um, with all due respect, go fuck yourself.
              We may not have all those great things you have in Texas like hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, Wendy Davis and all the oil you have, but we have plenty of one thing that y'all out west don't. Fresh water.
              We are so fucked.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by gary m View Post
                Um, with all due respect, go fuck yourself.
                We may not have all those great things you have in Texas like hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, Wendy Davis and all the oil you have, but we have plenty of one thing that y'all out west don't. Fresh water.
                I think we are in the millions on that front. Or close to it.

                Although I guess millions is technically hundreds of thousands as well. Hey! I could also say we have dozens!
                Colonel Vogel : What does the diary tell you that it doesn't tell us?

                Professor Henry Jones : It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!

                Comment


                • #9
                  OK....we'll go point-by-point here.


                  First of all, there is no GOP "fuming." That's just not reality, and the article itself doesn't bear this out at all. What has happened is that several of the top-ranking Republicans in the state have pointed out that voting to unionize will cause a big problem. More on this in a moment.

                  The only "fuming" going on by anyone here is really just by Mike Turner, who is a moron. He's a hot-tempered loose cannon who, frankly, is shunned even by other Democrats at Legislative Plaza. A good friend of mine used to serve in the MNFD with him, and even the guys in the fire hall cheered when he went away to run the firemen's union. I've dealt with him twice, once professionally and once in his capacity as a legislator, and both were less than ideal. He's basically the go-to guy when the media want someone to offer up "righteous indignation" on pretty much anything, from the UAW in Chattanooga to someone's favorite breed of puppy. And he's a bi-partisan spittle-flinger: he spent most of the previous decade irate at Phil Bredesen, carrying on some grudge from back when Bredesen was mayor.

                  So, let's get that part behind us: there's no "fuming" or "rage" or anything else like that here except for a couple of people with anger-management problems.

                  Now, as to what Corker and Haslam and Beth Harwell and others have said: all they're really doing is telling the truth. Even a lot of Democrats on the hill agree, though they will only do so tacitly and behind closed doors. And that truth is a problem. It's the result of governors and the legislature having stepped in shit back in the early-mid '80s. And it's a bi-partisan problem.

                  Way back when, two governors, Ned McWhorter and Don Sundquist, both really championed the cause of moving major manufacturing into Tennessee. Some of this got its start actually with Lamar Alexander, but Ned McWhorter picked up the ball and really ran with it, and then Sundquist sort of carried it in for the touchdown. Phil Bredesen did some of this later, but not nearly to such an extent; he was more focused on growing businesses that were already here. Lamar, Ned, and Don all courted major manufacturing. Lamar started, and Ned ultimately hooked Nissan to build their plant in Smyrna (barely southeast of Nashville; you can't really tell where one ends and the other begins any more). This was a real coup d'état because prior to that, there was, effectively, no such thing as major manufacturing in Tennessee. We were a tobacco state and a transportation state and a tourism state, not a manufacturing state. With the exception of lumber and clothing in the Carolinas, major manufacturing basically just didn't happen south of the Mason-Dixon line back then. So landing Nissan was a big, big deal.

                  Not too terribly long after that, we got Saturn in Spring Hill (40-odd miles due south of downtown Nashville). This was greatly-ballyhooed in the media all over as being the "new wave;" the UAW and GM management would "work together" and make "a new manufacturing partnership" and whatnot. Ultimately, people here wound up grumbling a good bit because virtually everyone who got one of those high-paying jobs at the Spring Hill plant was transplanted from Dearborn and Ann Arbor and the like. But, it wound up overall being a big boon for Spring Hill and Williamson County and most especially Maury County (which was VERY poor at the time; Williamson County was already pretty wealthy as counties go). Hooray! Champagne and gumdrops! The "new partnership" would be a whole new way for management and labor to work together and build great cars for America!

                  Well, it bombed. As The Architect put it: "A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure." In the end, the Saturn wound up being a car, and a car company, designed and built by committee. It was an uninspiring product, put together only marginally well, that never enjoyed really good sales, and it looked (and felt) dated by the time it was three or four years into production. They had a couple of neat features (the plastic body panels were pretty cool), but never anything really ground-breaking and certainly not enough to get people to stampede to showrooms to buy a car outfitted with cheap plastic on the interior, uninspiring styling in and out, less-than-ideal reliability, not much power, and all at a not-really-competitive price.

                  Much of this was due to the alleged warm-and-fuzzy relationship between management and labor, which in actuality was anything but. Designers and engineers in Detroit were hamstrung by the "work circles" (or whatever they were called) in Spring Hill telling them that the union wouldn't let them put the car together the way they had designed it. Management also had some unrealistic expectations of labor, some of which were frankly stupid, like making high-paid, highly-skilled line workers spend an hour a day cleaning up their work areas rather than letting janitorial staff handle that at $5/hour, all because some idiotic, pointy-headed sociologist told them that it would create "work unity" or some such nonsense. Management blamed labor for the continuing failure, labor blamed management for the failure, and we had us a good, ol' fashioned circular firing squad.


                  The previous three paragraphs will become important later.


                  Back to Nissan and three prior governors. Ultimately, Nissan was lured to Tennessee by a couple of promises:
                  1. The state was right-to-work and would stay that way, so the union would not be shutting down production on the line in Smyrna, and;
                  2. Nissan would get big tax breaks in the form of property tax waivers for their plant as well as one-for-one incentives on projected sales taxes; in other words, if someone's take-home was $1000 per week, with a 7% sales tax in Smyrna, Nissan would get a check from the state for $70 to pay for that worker. The one-for-one incentives eventually sundowned, but other types of incentives have come and gone since then.


                  Now, most particularly the "pay-to-play" incentives were controversial at the time and still are to a great degree, even though that has basically become de rigeur around the country these days. Honestly, I don't much care for them because I consider it to be the state government picking winners, and I don't think any level of government should be in the business of picking winners. But furthermore, lots of people, myself included, forecast that this day would come W/R/T VW: at some point, for whatever reason, the state is going to be in a position where they cannot keep giving those incentives, even if they were promised to be paid. And here is where VW voting to go union produces that problem.

                  The very first question that any major company looking to locate to Tennessee asks, whether they are in manufacturing or not, is whether the state supports unions. Anyone is welcome to call that "hating on the working man" or whatever if they want to, but it's simply denying reality to not accept the basic fact that unions make life hard for companies and they invariably cost companies far more money than is necessary, in addition to the undeniable fact that unions inherently do everything possible to protect a maximum level of mediocrity. Unionized cities and states also have a unionized "culture," and businesses consider that exceptionally counter-productive. When it's commonplace in a city or town for people to have the mindset of "that's not my job; let someone else do it," employers definitely notice this. The pro-union people will deny this until the cows come home, but it's a simple, basic fact that cannot be escaped.

                  The second question that companies ask is about taxation here. While relatively few companies moving to Tennessee cite unionization (or more specifically lack thereof) as a reason why they chose Tennessee over other states, a vastly overwhelming majority (like 85%) cite low taxes as the #1 reason that they elected to move to Tennessee as opposed to other state (or why they decided to move from where they were at all).

                  Now, thanks to those tax incentives to lure companies here, the two issues are directly linked. Now, when wanting to attract, say, a FIAT plant to Memphis, companies can hear that the state specifically supports big employers here and they put their money where their mouth is about Tennessee not being unionized. If VW votes to unionize, even if it's not "truly" unionized, then those trying to attract companies here can't really say that any more. They can't very well go about saying that Tennessee is a state that supports independent workers when they're giving tax incentives to VW at a unionized plant. So, the easy choice for the legislature, who definitely have a vested interest in luring more business to Tennessee, is to stop paying VW those tax subsidies and cut them loose to sink or swim on their own. And if that happens, then VW could very well decide that rather than expanding their plant here, they would instead build a new one (or expand an existing one) in Mexico, where wages are even cheaper. This is not a scare tactic. This is not a "threat." It's definitely not an "attack," as the NYT puts it. It's simply a statement of fact.

                  I've said for a very long time that these tax incentives to lure businesses to the city/state/downtown district/blighted neighborhood/whatever are fraught with pitfalls, and now Tennessee has found one. But we're already in that pickle now, so people decided whether to unionize ought to know what they're dealing with.



                  Now, about those warm-and-fuzzy relationships: this whole thing revolves around "working councils" or some similarly-named absurdity. People here are, quite rightly, skeptical of such foolishness. They've been down that road already with Saturn. Neither I nor anyone else around here really gives a shit how much the VW corporate people tout how "successful" they are; we all heard that same line of bullshit spewing forth out of Detroit about Saturn right up until the time they padlocked the factory. Using that as a reason to give the UAW a foot in the door at the Chattanooga assembly plant is just dumb.
                  It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                  In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                  Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                  Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Adam View Post
                    Now, when wanting to attract, say, a FIAT plant to Memphis, companies can hear that the state specifically supports big employers here and they put their money where their mouth is about Tennessee not being unionized. If VW votes to unionize, even if it's not "truly" unionized, then those trying to attract companies here can't really say that any more. They can't very well go about saying that Tennessee is a state that supports independent workers when they're giving tax incentives to VW at a unionized plant.
                    Ah, so the point is that prospective employers thinking about opening a plant in Tennessee will demand that Tennessee threaten any employer that allows a union. That way, those employers will have a bogeyman to point to if their workers ever start thinking about it.
                    Enjoy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Norm dePlume View Post
                      Ah, so the point is that prospective employers thinking about opening a plant in Tennessee will demand that Tennessee threaten any employer that allows a union.
                      It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                      In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                      Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                      Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Adam View Post
                        They can't very well go about saying that Tennessee is a state that supports independent workers when they're giving tax incentives to VW at a unionized plant.
                        They certainly can. If you offer tax incentives to a non-union manufacturer, you are supporting independent workers, regardless of whatever deal some unionized outfit is getting. The only possible way this could make any sense is if your notion of "support" has a negative component to it (threatening to remove support from employer who go union).

                        If I set a cake on one end of a table, and you set a roast on the other end, would anyone say "You can't very well go about saying that the table supports a roast when it's supporting a cake." That makes no sense. It can support both. Unless, of course, your notion of support involves rejecting the alternative.
                        Last edited by Norm dePlume; Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 7:14 PM.
                        Enjoy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My Toyota Tacoma was built by union labor in Oakland California. It was the best value AND the best price between Tacoma, Ranger and whatever the similarly sized Chevrolet was.
                          The year's at the spring
                          And day's at the morn;
                          Morning's at seven;
                          The hill-side's dew-pearled;
                          The lark's on the wing;
                          The snail's on the thorn:
                          God's in his heaven—
                          All's right with the world!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Norm dePlume View Post
                            They certainly can. If you offer tax incentives to a non-union manufacturer, you are supporting independent workers, regardless of whatever deal some unionized outfit is getting. The only possible way this could make any sense is if your notion of "support" has a negative component to it (threatening to remove support from employer who go union).

                            If I set a cake on one end of a table, and you set a roast on the other end, would anyone say "You can't very well go about saying that the table supports a roast when it's supporting a cake." That makes no sense. It can support both. Unless, of course, your notion of support involves rejecting the alternative.
                            Your desperate attempts to try to twist it into something it isn't simply will not change the facts.
                            It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                            In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                            Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                            Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Novaheart View Post
                              My Toyota Tacoma was built by union labor in Oakland California. It was the best value AND the best price between Tacoma, Ranger and whatever the similarly sized Chevrolet was.
                              That's nice. Irrelevant, but nice.
                              It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                              In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                              Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                              Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X